Outwardly, it looks like a cucumber; internally, it has a hint of aubergine. Originally from Italy, its name in Italian “zucca” means pumpkin, reflecting the fun fact that zucchini is a pumpkin vegetable.
Zucchini gets one additional bonus point for being available throughout the entire year. Since you can grow it from July to October, nothing will stand in the way of your zucchini carving. With a neutral taste, zucchini is a true all-rounder. You can eat it as finger food or as a salad. Or even better, you can cook it or steam it in water or oil.
Along with being low in calories, zucchini is rich in minerals and calcium, making sure that your bones are strong and healthy. It also has trace elements of iron which will promote blood formation.
But a vegetable wouldn’t be a vegetable if it didn’t have some vitamins in it. So, to uphold its reputation, zucchini will also boost your beta-carotin, a precursor of vitamin A. Put in simpler terms, and this means that it’s good for your eyesight. Additionally, it contains vitamin C, also known as the magic potion, to enhance immunity.
To put it in numbers:
Not only does zucchini taste delicious, but it also comes with a lot of health benefits:
Along with providing vitamins and minerals, zucchini are good to keep the blood glucose levels balanced. With only 2,7 grams carbs per 100g, zucchini is a low carb food since, similar to cucumbers, it’s mainly made out of water. As a result, you can devour zucchini without risking a rise in your blood glucose level; instead, your blood sugar stays stable, keeping you saturated for a longer period. This is especially great for people who have type 2 diabetes.
Not unlike many other vegetables, zucchini contains antioxidants. These are incredibly excellent for neutralizing free radicals that float around in our bodies and can potentially damage our cells. “But what exactly is this good for,” we hear you ponder. Well, it protects against the development of cancerous cells. In addition, studies have also shown that carotenoids (antioxidants) reduce the cell membranes, which reduces the risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
A little side notes: Yellow zucchinis have a higher level of antioxidants than green ones.
As already mentioned, zucchini can reduce the risk of getting several types of cancer. Studies have shown that zucchinis positively impact the growth of cancerous cells and can act preventively against cancer development. In addition, based on its anti-inflammatory and analgesic nature, zucchini used to be applied as a cure against colds and pain.
Whether we like it or not, we are all heading towards a future with glasses. Luckily zucchini also helps reduce the likelihood of age-related eye diseases. We have the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin (a subgroup of carotenoid) to thank for, which you’ll find in green zucchinis. Studies have shown that the intake of these antioxidants reduces the risk of macular degeneration and cataract.
As if all the little perks that make zucchini a healthy snack weren’t enough, the superfood also supports weight loss. The high amounts of water make sure that the feeling of fullness lasts for a more extended period preventing you from needlessly eating more than your body requires. What’s more, the dietary fiber contained in the zucchini ensures a low rise in your blood sugar level, which makes you feel full for a more extended time.
After talking about the nutrients and the health benefits of the zucchini, it’s time to jump to the fun part and share a tasty low-carb recipe suitable for every occasion. This time, we’d like to share an all-time favorite, zucchini tots. While they share an uncanny resemblance to zucchini fritters, zucchini tots aren’t fried, making them a healthier, simpler, and better alternative.
That’s all it takes, folks. Now you can serve your zucchini tots as a side dish or enjoy them as an appetizer.
This is the last of our superfood series. If you’re looking for more healthy snacks and recipe inspirations, make sure to browse through our previous superfoods selections.
Photo Credit: Unsplash